Buy Low / Sell High - Week 14
Posted 12/3 by Sigmund Bloom, Exclusive to Footballguys.com
- Sidney Rice, WR, Minnesota - Rice's arrival has been delayed by an injury, and now, Minnesota's return to a run first philosophy. Gus Frerotte's attempts have been routinely in the low 20's and completions in the teens (if that many) throughout November. Keep in mind that Rice was only 20 when he entered the league, and turned 22 at the beginning of this season - meaning he's just now at the point most NFL rookies are in their first season. Rice has the physical talent of a #1 receiver, and eventually he will be. Hold tight, and if his owner is getting nervous, pounce.
- Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego - Gates has fallen enough his owners have to be considering sitting him for the likes of John Carlson. There's no doubt that his toe (and an early hip injury) has kept him from being the explosive fantasy force we're used to this season. That he was staying close to his historical pace up til this last three week stretch is a testament to his toughness and the mostly excellent play of Philip Rivers. He is still one of the few elite TEs in fantasy football and will be for at least the next two years, even if it doesn't feel that way right now. This could be the only time you can get him for less than stud prices.
- Plaxico Burress, WR, New York Giants - I know it seems strange to seek Plax as a trade target at the absolute nadir of his career, but that's exactly why it's worth putting out feelers to his owner. Yes, Plax is very likely done as a Giant, and the possibility of jail time looms, but his NFL career is probably not over. He could still land on any number of WR poor teams in 2009 if he can beat his UCW rap and be a productive #3 or #4 fantasy WR at worst. Unlike Javon Walker, he's not dealing with a degenerative injury. Unlike Jerry Porter, he's actually been a fantasy stud for a good stretch before. Don't let these two recent busts make you think Plax has no value at all - he's a perfect guy to ask for as a throw-in as part of a larger deal.
- DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina - If you own DeAngelo, you rode him to victory in week 13, and you've got yourself a top five running back. The chances of Williams remaining a top five running back through the end of the season are diminished by remaining tough matchups against Tampa this week and the Giants in week 16. The chances of him remaining a top five, or even top 10 running back next year are almost zero. It's not like Jonathan Stewart has been a bust. The ability that got him drafted in the top 15 of the first round this year has been apparent, and we know John Fox likes to have the kind of RB splits that makes it hard for either back to be an RB1 for fantasy. If Stewart hadn't tweaked his hamstring on his long run last week, he might have cut into Williams four TD total. Williams has definitely reinvented himself as an angry, efficient runner this year, but that doesn't change the nasty RBBC situation he's stuck in for the long haul. If you can get top 10 value for him in the wake of his big day at Lambeau, do it.
- Mark Clayton, WR, Baltimore - I was a Clayton believer when he came out of Oklahoma. I though he could turn into Harrisonesque precise route runner with impeccable hands. It hasn't come together, even though he did have the best fantasy day of any wide receiver last week (likely on a lot of people's benches). He does have upside as the possible heir to Derrick Mason, but he also has downside if Demetrius Williams or Marcus Smith develops as the kind of big receiver Cam Cameron likes. Clayton has played smaller than his size, and while he's shown a penchant for running under Flacco's deep balls, that might be his only value. One great game is probably not enough to get people hot and bothered about Clayton's potential, but if someone comes asking about him this week, listen, because they might overpay.
- Martellus Bennett, TE, Dallas - Welcome to Anthony Fasano part II. Bennett does have more pure athletic ability than Fasano, but he is doomed to play second fiddle to Jason Witten for the part of his career that finds him in Dallas, and he's been producing more because of play design than individual ability. On other teams, Bennett would be a nice TE prospect to sit on, but on Dallas, you'll have to hope he gets shipped out a la Fasano. See if someone will bite in the trade market now that he's scored in three straight games.
Now that trade deadlines have passed in most leagues, I'm going to spend some time each week profiling players who are worth carrying in the offseason because 2009 could bring more opportunity:
- Darren Sproles, San Diego - Sproles is a free agent this year, and he should occupy the Leon Washington/Kevin Faulk/Jerious Norwood role on his new team. His lateral agility, initial burst, and fifth gear are on a par with Washington and Norwood. He's also been a very good inside runner in his previous incarnation at Kansas State, and it wouldn't shock me if his new team used him more between the tackles than any of us expect.
- Danny Ware, New York Giants - At least one of Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward will move on in free agency this year. The Giants have been keeping Ware on their 53 man roster even though he's their 5th running back, so you know they like him. At worst, he'll be a good handcuff to Jacobs/Bradshaw next year, but if Bradshaw gets in more trouble, he could have Derrick Ward's role next year.
- Kregg Lumpkin, Green Bay - Lumpkin impressed in his small amount of work before going on IR this year, and Ryan Grant does not have a stranglehold on the starting job, especially with Brandon Jackson looking as good or better in relief of him last week vs. Carolina. Lumpkin was a very highly touted RB out of high school who was lost in the shuffle at Georgia, but the Packers staff had nothing but glowing things to say about him during training camp and September.
- Chauncey Washington, Jacksonville - Fred Taylor said that the Jags have the worst team chemistry of any team he's played on, and it showed on Monday night. So I guess we should trust him when he says this is his last year in Jacksonville. I always believed that Greg Jones would inherit Taylor's role, but Jones has turned into quite the lead blocking fullback, so Washington should get first crack at being the complimentary back to MJD. He didn't perform up to his physical potential at USC, but he's worth carrying because he does have NFL quality measureables and he's on a team that loves to run, even if they have been held back by numerous injuries this year.
- BenJarvus Green-Ellis, New England - Green-Ellis did everything the Pats asked of him when Sammy Morris went down, so he should at least get a shot to do more in training camp next year. Morris is over 30 and has proven to be injury prone, and LaMont Jordan has been almost worthless, so really, who is standing BJGE's way for work between the tackles next year? He was a standout back in the tough SEC even on a terrible Ole Miss team, and he was definitely underrated by the NFL coming into this year's draft.